For all the benefits of digital technology, it’s certainly made the business of marketing much more challenging.
Marketers, so closely tied to ROI, must account for every dollar spent, an increasingly complex equation as new data sources enter the marketplace. With CEOs scrutinizing digital performance, marketers are pressured with managing customer data and measuring marketing outcomes across every digital touchpoint. Plus, they are tasked with deriving insights from unprecedented accumulations of disconnected customer data to create more personal and precisely targeted brand experiences.
Today’s always-on consumers have never been more accessible, constantly moving between devices, and continuously emitting streams of live digital signals about their wants and needs. But they’ve never been harder to understand and reach.
As consumers ourselves, we can understand why. We hold the power to tune in and tune out what messages we want to receive and where and when we want to receive them. Messages need to be relevant, meaningful and timely in order for us open, click or swipe. This means marketers must keep pace with us as we journey across time and touchpoints to understand our individual behaviors and intentions.
And, let’s face it, we’re complicated. We may start a search on our desktop, compare email offers on our phone, seek advice through social media on our laptop and then trek to a store to make a purchase – all in the span of a few hours. But most marketers aren’t able to recognize their customers and respond to these signals in real time, wherever they are across web and mobile, so the opportunity to engage them with accuracy and value has been lost. As has their potential conversion.
Now, it just got personal.
People-Based Marketing Connects You to People, Not Devices
With consumers demanding more personalized and immediate brand experiences, marketers need to adopt a new approach to reach and engage real people—not just the devices upon which a specific audience is most likely to be.
Welcome, people-based marketing.
People-based marketing is a strategic discipline that focuses on connecting brands with actual individuals across devices and channels. As opposed to targeting web cookies, which expire, can be deleted and don’t always work in the mobile environment, people-based marketing allows marketers to immediately recognize and respond to customers across all digital touchpoints, opening up endless opportunities to engage them in more meaningful ways. Doing so, however, requires the right data and identity strategies.
Between their decades-long investment in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and the myriad of online data amassed through a growing number of digital channels and toolsets, brands have more first-party data than ever. With the ability to upload their offline data to the online environment, where it can be matched with a publisher’s digital data, marketers can recognize and reach customers wherever they are across the web and mobile. And if they are able to do this in real time, brands can leverage the most precious of customer data, live-intent signals, to connect with customers when they are in market for their products or services. Which takes the guesswork out of targeting, eliminates wasted ad spend and, ultimately, increases conversions.
Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
With real-time people-based marketing, brands can deliver experiences that customers want, not marketing messages they want to ignore. Accomplishing this requires working with data and identity technologies that offer speed, persistence and ownership. And herein lies the marketer’s greatest challenge.
Hampered by fragmented and siloed data technologies, most marketers are unable to upload and reconcile massive data sets – a process that has typically involved batch processing – in time to do anything with it quickly, let alone identify and reach customers “in the moment” across the web and mobile. Plus, many marketers work with ad-tech vendors who rely on data from cookies, which is web-restricted, often outdated and, typically after 180 days, non-existent. To recognize individuals and the digital signals they’re sending in real time across all channels, marketers must work with persistent identifiers that can find and continuously follow individuals as they move across all touchpoints, never expiring and becoming more robust with every interaction.
Sure, marketers have options. For a few years now, ad-tech vendors have been offering data onboarding – the process of connecting a company’s offline customer data with the digital environment – as a service. Onboarders are able to upload a brand’s data, match customer identities across channels and devices and push out these customer IDs to media vendors, a process that typically takes five to seven days, or longer. But five days is five days too late for engaging the customer who’s shopping for your product today.
And then there are the Internet giants, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, which are able to upload and match a brand’s data with their own massive lists of logged-in users in a matter of hours, delivering unrivaled scale. Yet none of them share back user-level data or insights with their advertisers, making it impossible for marketers to connect what happens inside the walled gardens with the rest of their marketing efforts.
But the process can be so much simpler. And fast. And always on.
Thanks to the evolution of people-based marketing technologies, today exist solutions with continuous onboarding native to the platform. The ability to continually collect and sync live-streaming identifiers with a brand’s historical first-party data allows brands to create a persistent customer data asset that enrichens throughout customer lifetimes. Empowered with always-on recognition, brands can recognize and engage people with in-the-moment relevancy at any touch point, leverage up-to-the-minute insights and perform closed-loop analytics.
The Future is People-Based Marketing
As our personal experiences as consumers have taught us, we know that successful advertising must meet customers on their own terms. Considering the cross-device habits of today’s consumers, that’s getting harder and harder to do.
Marketers simply can’t keep up.
And this puts consumers in control of the messages they receive. When consumers have this kind of power, the only way to get their attention – and drive conversions – is to engage them with meaning and relevance.
To do so, marketers must be able to recognize their customers in real time across all touchpoints. An ambitious goal, for sure. But one that can be met with the right technology solution and a strategy built around people-based marketing.